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Font Names, Copyrights, Recap TTF/ATM Etc


New Member
Hey there guys.. Years ago I used expensive fonts on a Gerber Scientific machine. You had to buy the font packs. There was a Font called "Homeward Bound" I believe, it was an ATM (Adobe) font. Later someone copied the font and called it "HOBO" they used the theme of the 1st 2 letters of each name to come up with the copied name.

Does anyone remember this, and does anyone still use ATM fonts?


Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
This from the Adobe website:

Typeface notes: Hobo was designed in 1910 by Morris Fuller Benton for American Type Founders. This unusual Art Nouveau-inspired design contains no straight lines and no descenders. It imparts a friendliness to display work such as invitations, menus, signage, and packaging.

Morris Fuller Benton

I can't say for certain regarding the origin of Homeward Bound. It sounds like a clone name for Hobo. It is possible that Gerber used the name but I doubt it since I bought the eprom version from Gerber for my Sprint systems in the 1980's ... and it was called Hobo by them.

Your statements about ATM and Adobe indicate a common confusion regarding type terminology. here are some clarifications and a brief history.

Adobe = Adobe Systems, Inc., a software company in the business of developing and selling products to the design and graphics production industries. Their primary claim to fame is the development of a page description language named PostScript. PostScript encompasses many different areas of digital graphics which include one of the three industry standard formats for digital fonts, the PostScript Type 1 font. So when you say an Adobe font, one is left to wonder whether you are referring incorrectly to a PostScript Type 1 font or a font which is contained in the Adobe Type Library. PostScript is also a standard used in the EPS file format which stands for Encapsulated PostScript. Adobe cannot take all the credit for PostScript becoming a widely accepted standard. It was actually a push by the "three A's": Adobe, Altsys and Aldus.

Follow along closely now. Altsys was a Texas software developer who had developed a neat little package named Fontographer. While they were busy selling that, they took what they knew about bezier vectors and put it into another neat little package named FreeHand. They weren't the greatest marketers in the world (hey they were from Texas) so they exclusively licensed Aldus to sell FreeHand and it became known as Aldus FreeHand and achieved a lot of success going head on against Adobe Illustrator. Aldus also had a nice little piece of work named Pagemaker that was giving Quark Express a run for their money as desktop publishing became the thing to do.

So it was in all their interests to see a standard adopted since they all used PostScript. Adobe was riding high on selling PostScript interpreters for printers, nice high quality PostScript Type One fonts and Adobe Illustrator. Aldus was gobbling up the less than professional market with PageMaker while gaining a following for FreeHand in the professional Mac community. And Altsys was selling the only game in town for under $50K (a system named Ikarus made by URW) to create fonts. Adobe also developed and separately sold ATM (Adobe Type Manager) as a utility which made it possible to use their fonts. So PostScript became the defacto standard for virtually all phases of vector graphics ... including type.

Another "A" was not included in the spoils ... Apple. And they hated sending money to Adobe to use their standard and to supply fonts with their new Macintosh line of computers. So they developed a second standard named TrueType and built it into every Macintosh. The only problem was that the vast majority of the professional community had already adopted PostScript and bought into the technology.

Along comes Bill Gates who wanted to do the same thing for Windows that Apple had done ... include font handling in the operating system and supply fonts with Windows to make it more useable. So Microsoft licensed the TrueType technology from Apple and the rest is history.

While TrueType is an inherently inferior technology it succeeded with the growth of Windows PC's and has left the Type One technology a second place finisher. Adobe introduced a third standard called OpenType a few years ago. It has the benefit of lots of extra characters in every font and is also cross-platform. ATM is, as far as I know, still a necessary utility on a Macintosh. It's functions were taken over on all Windows systems as of Windows 2000 by the Windows operating system.

Another commonly misstated issue with digital fonts is the term "Mac font". Basically, both Type 1 and TrueType font formats each sport a Windows version and a Macintosh version that are incompatible with eachother but are all generated from one master set of glyphs contained in an application like Fontographer or Ikarus. There is no technology that limits a font to only working on a Macintosh.

Interesting sidenotes:

In the early 1990's, Adobe bought out Aldus to get Pagemaker. This meant they also owned the exclusive license to publish FreeHand. Altsys took Adobe to court and got Freehand back. Shortly after that, Altsys sold out to Macromedia who slightly developed Fontographer but continued the development of FreeHand. In 2005, Adobe bought out Macromedia.

The original developer of digital font technology was URW.

In 1989, the US Patent and Trademark Court ruled that no one could copyright or patent a type design because the western alphabet was part of the public domain. The only thing a developer could protect was the name of the type style by claiming a trademark. This unleashed a rash of "clones" who freely set about opening every font in sight with Fontographer, renaming it, changing the copyright notice and regenerating the font in TrueType format for Windows. Often they did not bother to even import the kerning and spacing scheme of the font. The entire process takes only two or three minutes.

The results of this court approved piracy was a huge loss of revenue for the font manufacturers and a significant downgrading of the original quality of the fonts. Among the bankruptcies were: URW, Bitstream, Berthold, The Font Company, International Type Founders and a host of smaller firms. Bitstream, in an effort to stay alive, sold an unlimited license to Corel for its font library. Monotype was absorbed by Agfa. Letraset absorbed by ITC. Linotype terminated more than 700 jobs. Varityper fell by the wayside. Compugraphics Corp. was absorbed by Agfa. Virtually no new type designs came to market for several years.

Hope I didn't bore you. :Sleeping:


New Member
Thanks for the history lesson. I knew TT fonts worked fine on Macs, since I use them all the time, but I didn't know they were originally developed by Apple. ATM is not needed on Macs running OSX. Apple has vastly improved font handling under OSX, and one can use TT, OT or Type I without much hassle.

The Vector Doctor

New Member
Yeah, Adobe quit offering ATM for the Mac platform when OSX came out. You can use the built in font manager for the Mac which is not industrial strength when you are using lots of fonts. I prefer the free FontExplorer (Beta) offered by Linotype, but Extensis is another font management tool - but you must pay for that one.


New Member
Thanks Fred. That was very educational. I found my old Corel Draw 3, and Aldus programs on (Aldus is on 5.25). So I found a TON of fonts that have gone by the wayside.. I really appreciate the lesson.


Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Since nobody asked about or picked up on my comment about TrueType being an inferior technology, here's a couple of reasons why.
  • The TrueType standard calls for more nodes to define a path. This is most evident when you compare a circular path in both PostScript and TrueType. In PostScript, four node are used to define a circle. With TrueType, eight are used. The attached example compares two versions from Adobe of Adobe Garamond typed out in Adobe Illustrator, converted to outlines, selected to show the nodes (control points) and the outline wireframe view turned on. Note the letter "o". Note the differences in other characters. While the fonts I used are not totally identical to start with, they are very similar (best i could do on short notice) which accounts some of the differences. But the fact is that TrueType will have more nodes which means larger file sizes, slower plot and print speeds, and more opportunity for errors when they are converted, exported or imported in various file formats and in the various applications that will use them.
  • A second issue is a printing issue. It is called "hinting". When fonts are originally created by a high quality professional, the fills are adjusted by physically moving pixels that touch curved paths to create a smoother fitting fill when printing. This hinting is almost non-existent in the converted from PostScript to TrueType fonts most people use.


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